Following an exploration over the past year to identify an appropriate site for a new public works site, the Village of Cumberland was offered an opportunity to purchase a portion of unused lands from West Fraser Mills.
The four parcels of land are located within the municipality and were previously used as private forest land. The Village will use one of the parcels to house a new public works yard.
“The Village’s existing public works yard is very small, it is in a poor location in the residential and commercial core, and the old buildings are unlikely to withstand a significant seismic event,” Mayor Leslie Baird said in a July 26 news release. “We are very happy to have found a suitable parcel of land near the Inland Island Highway at a reasonable price.”
The site for the new public works yard is accessed from Union Road and is on one of the two largest parcels, together totaling 11.5 hectares. The parcels were part of a package deal at a price tag of just over $1 million, funded from reserves and short term debt. The package also includes two small parcels included at no extra cost to the municipality and which are expected to be retained for park use. These smaller lots include a 0.6-hectare portion of the South Wellington Colliery railway bed near Comox Lake, as well as a 4.4-hectare parcel of wetlands and riparian areas sited between the Community Forest and Comox Lake Road.
While the Village has healthy inventory of community parkland holdings, to date it has not owned any land available for future operational and community needs (other than the acquisition of a one-ha parcel in 2016 for a new fire hall). The latest land purchase will give the Village options to help meet current and future community needs.
A planning process to determine the use of the Union Road parcels will be undertaken in the future, along with a review of civic facilities planning, community and social infrastructure needs, including exploration of revenue generating opportunities for the municipality. The Union Road parcels are currently zoned Public Use and Assembly (PA-1).